After being tasked with providing teachers with training and professional learning when I worked in the schools, it became apparent right away that finding the time in a teacher's day to do so was nearly impossible. However, when my primary responsibility was teaching teachers, I discovered so many amazing things that I couldn't wait to share. It was quite frustrating to have a wealth of valuable information to share, and nearly no time to share it with teachers.
It was after one year as an instructional technologist that I thought to myself, if I went back into the classroom right now, I would be a rock star teacher. That's when I came up with this idea.
A single teacher from a school will be selected based on their track record of excellence in education. They will be given one year away from the classroom with the goal of allowing them to recharge their battery, and pursue personal learning opportunities on anything they want. Each school would have a permanent sub to take the teacher's place on a yearly basis.
Teachers selected for this program are expected to attend conferences, network with thought leaders, read books, watch TED Talks, participate in MOOCs, blog, moderate Twitter chats, listen to/make podcasts or anything that can justifiably be considered as professional learning. They will be given complete autonomy to explore their passion and interests related to the teaching profession. Nobody in the district can dictate what topics will be selected, how it is to be learned or a time frame for doing so.
The only stipulation is that the some type of product be produced as a result of their exploration and they share what they've learned with the teachers, administration and community of their district through blogging, training and professional learning opportunities on a regular basis.
After the one year commitment, the teacher will resume their role as a classroom teacher. And a new teacher will be selected to take their place.